The Power of Thanks
June 11, 2016 | by: Angela Karum | 2 Comments
Posted in: Identity
“But I don’t feel thankful,” I protested. “How can I give thanks for these things? I hate that this is happening!”
It was 5 am and I was up before the birds, wrestling with God over His request for me to thank Him in everything. How could I thank Him for the chaotic, heartbreaking situation I was in? I mean, I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.
I stared at the words on the page – “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess. 5:18
I had always considered myself a thankful person. I appreciated what people did for me. I appreciated what God did for me and thanked Him frequently for His blessings. But these were not blessings. The idea of thanking Him for the bad things was new and, quite frankly, troubling. I did not feel thankful about them. I didn’t appreciate what was happening at all. So why was God asking me to give thanks?
I finally stopped mentally arguing and just listened. He wasn’t asking me to feel thankful, but to give thanks. It was an act of obedience, a decision of my will to thank Him for the hard things, regardless of my feelings.
Through tears, I whispered the words – “Thank you that this happened… thank you that this is what I’m facing… thank you…” The list was long, but when I finished I noticed something strange. I didn’t feel upset anymore. I felt at peace. All that turmoil in my heart was just gone!
“What just happened? What did You just do, Lord?” I asked in amazement.
I realized that God asks us to give thanks in everything – good or bad – because He wants to set us free from the power of our circumstances. He wants to give us peace in the midst of suffering, but that can only come when we thank Him for the suffering. When we, as an act of our will, give Him thanks, our spirit is uniting with His Spirit in faith and trusting God to work all things out for our ultimate good. It’s deeper than feelings, deeper than circumstances. It activates our trust and hope in Him, and He gives us peace.
Instead of drowning in the waves of our circumstances and trials, giving thanks allows us to surf the waves, overcoming them.
I have put this to the test in other situations since then, and each time the same thing happens. In place of the turmoil, anger, stress, anxiety, discouragement, I end up with peace and hope. Nothing has yet changed on the outside, but everything is different in my heart.
We can take God at His word – even when it doesn’t make sense to our minds. When He asks us to do something, He has our ultimate good in mind. There is tremendous power in giving thanks.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Angela Karum, mother of two teenagers and Florida resident since 2008, fills her free time hunting treasures in used book stores and sipping Nutella lattes with friends. Her compassionate heart and ready smile belie an adventurous spirit cultivated during her childhood in the Amazon jungle.